Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Israeli Shoes Put High-Tech In Your Step

Two new made-in-Israel shoe technologies help people avoid falls and regain proper gait after stroke and other injury

By: Abigail Klein Leichman

Published: March 27th, 2014 in Business » Israel

When you think of Israeli high-tech, you may picture hands on a keyboard. Shift your gaze way down to the feet, and follow us on an exploration of two new shoe technologies invented to keep people walking with less danger of falling.

B-Shoe (the ‘b’ is for balance)

B-Shoe Technologies addresses the grim statistic that every year, one out of three people aged 65 and older takes a spill in the United States alone. Closer to age 80, the risk affects nearly everybody, and these falls often result in hospitalization and decreased life expectancy. Related healthcare costs are estimated in the billions.

For biomechanical engineer Yonatan Manor, these epidemic-like stats hit home as his father aged and began to fall frequently. Observing how elderly people walk and stand, he theorized that the biomechanics of stability – just like vision and hearing – deteriorate with age. The muscles and reflexes cannot manage the little unconscious adjustments to maintain optimal center of pressure in the heel area. The correcting step backward comes too late, in the wrong direction or not at all.

Confirming his theory with physiotherapists and doctors, and through studies at Ben-Gurion University’s Center for Multidisciplinary Research in Aging, Manor and electronic engineer partners Abraham Stamper and Aharon Shapiro dug the heel out of a sneaker and installed a sensor-driven motorized mechanism that can drive the shoe backward in a controlled and gentle manner to prevent falling.

Six years ago, B-Shoe began developing this prototype with support from the Office of the Chief Scientist, and continued in a Haifa startup incubator.

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